With leaders spending nearly half their week in meetings, frustration levels are high if those meetings aren’t efficient or productive. If you facilitate meetings, here are tips to keep them running like a well-oiled machine.
Before the meeting
- Confirm a meeting is needed
Is a meeting the best way to accomplish the task? Is your weekly standing meeting still meeting its objective? Don’t assume. If you are just sharing information, your meeting may be elevating frustration levels. Meetings should be reserved for topics that need discussion.
- Communicate the purpose, and each person’s role, prior to the meeting
This will help attendees know how to engage in the discussion and will also help you think through who needs (and does not need) to be there. How do you make sure your purpose is clear? Think through your CORE, CARE, DO®: What is your single CORE message? Why would your attendees CARE about that? What do you want participants to DO/accomplish in the meeting?
During the meeting
- Start with an agenda
You’ve likely heard this before, and it’s worth re-emphasizing. Whether or not you have an agenda can determine whether your meeting efficiently drives towards an outcome, or meanders and goes off track
- Keep discussion on track
First, you need to be aware of when things go off track (an agenda helps!). Then, consider using phrases that bring the discussion back on track such as, “To ensure we have time to cover what’s most beneficial for the team,” or “Let’s dive into that more offline when we can dedicate the time that topic deserves.”
- End with a clear call to action
Recap the key takeaways from the discussion, such as who will do what by when, at the end of the meeting. Also consider when the additional touch point is to check on progress and/or next steps. This will ensure your meetings aren’t all talk and no action.
These tips will help your next meeting be purpose-driven, streamlined, and actionable. The added benefit? You, and your fellow leaders will get some of those hours back as meetings become more effective and efficient.